Our Standing and Estate

When His Majesty the King bestows his birthday honours he must consider not only the merits of those who are to receive them, but whether they will be able to maintain the new dignity that he wishes to give them. For instance, he would not raise a scavenger to the peerage, for such a man would not have the estate and resources with which to uphold the dignity that such a standing in the realm would demand. A man with a great title and standing but without corresponding resources would be a laughing stock.

Now God has raised all who have believed in Jesus to a place of great dignity. They are "in Christ Jesus," and there is now no condemnation for them. So Romans 8 tells us, and we learn that not only is this their standing, but they are brought into a wonderful relationship in that standing, they are sons of God — heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ Jesus. But suppose that the God of grace, having raised us to this glorious dignity — and it is all grace, free sovereign grace that has done it — had left us without an estate or resources by which the dignity could be upheld, how unequal the matter would have been; why, we should have been the laughing stock of every intelligent creature! But He has not so acted. He has given to us His own Spirit. In the early part of Romans 8 the Spirit is mentioned more than a dozen times, and the Spirit is the estate that corresponds to the dignity; in Him is the power and resources.

We are in Christ Jesus, and God's intention is that this great standing should not be in title only but in reality, that we should live as those who are in Him, and the Spirit that dwells in us is equal to this. Thus are our standing and state equal. The cause of much failure among Christians lies in the fact that the indwelling of the Spirit is not realized in its full import; in many, alas, He is a grieved Spirit and His operations are thwarted. So that in them we have the sad spectacle of those whose heads have been crowned with the coronets of grace, walking and even grovelling in the mire of the world. No question can be raised as to their title, but their ways are incongruous, they are sons of God living the lives of beggars instead of showing forth His praises who has called them out of darkness into His marvellous light.

If we consider the dignity, "in Christ Jesus," and the relationship, "sons of God," our hearts will surely be greatly moved, we shall be full of thanksgiving to the God of all grace, our Father, who has thus blest us; but our joy in this will not be maintained and increased unless we give the Spirit of God His place, we must mind the things of the Spirit and through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, then we shall live in this liberty and we shall prove that when God raised us to this dignity, He considered well as to how it could be upheld and He gave to us His Holy Spirit. A power equal to our position and a state equal to our standing.